INDIANAPOLIS -- Although Redskins officials were trying on Saturday evening to resuscitate the deal, a proposed trade between Washington and the New York Jets, in which the teams would have swapped their top wide receivers, appears dead.
The Jets backed away from the deal on Saturday morning when the representatives for Laveranues Coles apprised New York officials over breakfast that their client would likely want to upgrade his contract if traded. The Jets were eager to re-acquire Coles, who began his career in New York, in exchange for wide receiver Santana Moss.
The Jets wanted Coles under the remaining terms of the seven-year, $35 million contract that he signed with Washington in 2002. Told that Coles might not report to training camp if he was traded and did not receive a new contract, the Jets opted to end their pursuit.
There are no further discussions scheduled, and a source involved in the trade talks said Saturday evening that it is "highly unlikely" that the Redskins will succeed in reviving the negotiations. Under terms of the original trade proposal, the two wide receivers were the only components in what would have been a rare player-for-player deal.
A team source said Saturday that he anticipates the Redskins will now seek another trade partner. The Baltimore Ravens are rumored to have interest in Coles, who all along contended that he preferred to be released, rather than traded.
As reported on Friday by ESPN.com, there were some hurdles that had to be cleared for the Washington-New York trade. Foremost among them, as reported Thursday by ESPN.com, is that the Redskins had to first create salary cap room to absorb the hit they would take in a Coles trade.
To do that, the Redskins would have needed to complete a contract extension with left offensive tackle Chris Samuels. Ironically, the Redskins are closer to a Samuels extension. Agent Jimmy Sexton and Washington negotiated Saturday, and the sense is that momentum is toward a new contract, one that might reward Samuels with the highest signing bonus in Redskins history.
Completing an extension with Samuels now, however, is totally unrelated to any other trade the Redskins might have in the works.
Officials from both the Jets and Redskins were said to be disappointed by the collapse of the wide receiver swap.
New York clearly felt that Coles is the better receiver of the two. The Jets did not want to let Coles escape to Washington in 2002, but terms of the restricted free agent offer sheet to which the Redskins signed him, which included a $13 million signing bonus, were too prohibitive to match.
Washington, which decided it was better to relocate Coles, who has complained about the lack of verticality in the Redskins defense, coveted Moss' explosiveness.
Moss, 25, was the Jets' first-round choice in the 2001 draft, and the former Miami (Fla.) star has been a productive playmaker when healthy. There have been times, however, when Moss has missed time with hamstring and knee injuries. In four seasons, he had 29 starts in 51 appearances, with 151 receptions for 2,416 yards and 19 touchdowns. His best season came in 2003, when he posted 74 catches, 1,105 yards and nine scores.
He is entering the final year of his original rookie contract and is scheduled to earn a base salary of $448,000 in 2005. Washington would definitely have sought an extension with Moss before completing any deal for him. In fact, the Jets suspect that the Redskins had already agreed quietly to an extension. Since the Jets had not granted permission for the Redskins to speak with Moss' agent about an extension, there are rumblings that New York is considering filing anti-tampering charges against Washington.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.